Not being a part of a corporation definitely has its perks. Burnett has license to be pretty much as creative as he wants to be with Parc Central's progressive American menu. So you might be interested to learn about his influences.
9 Iron Chef: I golf outside of cooking. I used to be on the golf team in high school. Obviously, I haven't gotten out to play in a little while opening this place. I play really well for the fact that I don't get out to do it very often.
Biggest culinary influences: I would have to say Chef Henri and there's another by the name of Eric Carlson who was the executive chef for The Ritz Carlton in Florida. He transferred to the Anatol and he was so totally passionate about food - his life revolved around being a chef. He shot me straight. He said, "This is not going to be easy. You have to decide if you really want this." At that point, I had been accepted to CIA, but I didn't end up going because I was enjoying where I was working. Despite how busy he was, he always took the time to show me how things were done right.
Find what Burnett simply can't live without after the jump.
Most embarrassing moment in the kitchen: A couple hours before this happened, I noticed one of my chefs was missing a piece of the top of the pen he keeps in his chef coat. I remember thinking that it might be in the food. I think it ended up in the lobster lasagna. A couple hours later the front of house manager pulls it out and goes, "What is this?" It was from the clear pen I spotted earlier.
Best part about the restaurant industry: It's constantly changing. You have to constantly be researching and following trends. It's very stressful, but I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I would go insane if I had to sit behind a desk. Putting this place together has been about getting numbers in line to get the doors open. I have to be in the office and in front of the computer dealing with schedules and labor costs. Now, it's kind of all coming together.
The future of Parc Central: They've talked about opening other locations in Dallas, Miami, L.A. People come in here and they can't believe it's the first one. We were actually all involved in choosing things like the artwork and the chairs. We didn't all have to be there because it caused a massive headache. Someday I would like to have my own small restaurant.
Your last meal: Cheese, anything involved with cheese and a lot of it. My fiancée and I are trying to stay true to our vegetarian thing. We were talking about jumping to the next level, which is no cow's milk. She's a cheese freak too. Our refrigerator is filled different types of cheese at all times. She said she thought she would be able to quit eating cheese and I was like, "I am not committed to that."
Stay tuned for a Black Truffle Hummus recipe that will make you want to ditch the pita bread for a spoon.